Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川国芳) (artist 01/01/1797 – 04/14/1861)
Lü Fang, the Little Duke (Shō'onkō Ryohō - 小温侯呂方) from the series 108 Heroes of the Popular Suikoden All Told (Tsūzoku Suikoden gōketsu hyakuhachinin no hitori - 通俗水滸伝豪傑百八人之一個) - right panel of a diptych
Signed: Ichiyūsai Kuniyoshi ga
Publisher: Kagaya Kichiebei (Marks 194)
Censor's seal: kiwame
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
Lyon Collection - left panel of this diptych The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford says of this print:
Shō'onkō Ryohō, born in Tan-shū (Tan zhou, Shandong province), was a traveling medicine-seller. He lived in Taiei-zan (Duiying shan) where he began robbing travelers, becoming famous for his use of a specific spear known as a hōtengeki. Ryohō fought a celebrated battle with Saijinki Kakusei, another user of the hōtengeki, over who should control the area of Taiei-zan. This battle continued for days until the panther's tails that were special ornaments for their weapons got entangled. Eventually, Shōrikō Kaei (Hua Rong) a powerful local lord urged them to stop fighting, shooting the tails with one arrow. This remarkable feat so impressed them both that later they became his followers. Since then, these two fighters are always depicted as a pair.****
This print shows Ryohō in armour on a rearing horse, armed with his long spear and a banner with the insignia of a lizard. The print forms a diptych with that of Saijinki Kakusei...
This is number 18a in Klompmakers' book on this series.
"Shō'onkō Ryohō once wrote as a travelling medicine vendor but unluckily loses all his worldly possessions. He then settles on Twin mountain... where he begins robbing travellers. One day the mercury salesman, Saijinki Kakusei, who had lost his money when his boat capsized, meets Ryohō and demands that he relinquish his robber's territory." Ryohō offers to give him half, but Kakusei wants it all. They start battling. This goes on for days because they are so equally matched. Eventually the famous Sōkō arrives and urges them to desist. The combatants are so impressed by who is asking them to quit fighting that they do so and then join his band of marauders.
Illustrated in a full-page color reproduction on page 83. Source and quote from: Of Brigands and Bravery: Kuniyoshi's Heroes of the Suikoden, p. 82.
Also illustrated in a black and white reproductions in the Illustrated Catalogues of Tokyo National Museum: Ukiyo-e Prints (3), #3123.
Shō'onkō Ryohō appears in Chapter 34.
Kagaya Kichibei (加賀屋吉兵衛) (publisher)
Suikoden (水滸傳) (genre)